Is it possible?

Is it possible to listen to too much Leonard Cohen? Is it possible to have too many photo editing apps on your phone? Is it possible to have too many friends?

I don’t have answers. I suspect there is a limit to the former, as I have pushed the edges of what’s possible over the last month and forged through 1967’s sweetly bitter Songs of Leonard Cohen all the way through 2016’s magnificent bittersweet You Want It Darker. I took no stops in between for live albums or collections, and found myself straying back to New Skin for the Old Ceremony more than a few times. Okay...I strayed back to every album more than a few times, and have managed for the most part to hold back tears knowing I will go to my grave never having experienced him or Johnny Cash or Freddy Mercury perform live alive. So I don’t know. Have I listened to too much Leonard Cohen this fall? Possibly.

I have tried countless times, without ever resorting to Google, to imagine Leonard holding a phone in his hand, laboring over just the right filter to use on a selfie. Or in his case, a self-portrait. I imagine him only doing self-portraits, as opposed to selfies. Would he carefully straighten the horizon line in Snapseed? Would he punch up the blacks in ProShot? Would he gently drop the highlights a smidge in Litely? Or would he lovingly pay ninety-nine cents for the perfect flash on Hipstamatic? Would he be bogged down by endless options? Yes, we would be, yes, we are, yes, there does exist the reality of too much being too much.

Can you have too many friends? I would guess that if you won a big lottery, the answer might be yes, which is why I have chosen to not win one. I have been better at investing in people than stocks, and my social security statement will likely back me up, although I am advised that it is a good document to not go throwing around in public.

A short time ago from now, I was alerted to the arrival of an old classmate; a fellow who once had long hair, and with whom I exchanged pleasantries with five to thirteen times in college. His arrival to the surrounding terrain was not a solo one; he was accompanied by a beautiful and personable wife and a gaggle of somewhere between two and four adventurous boys. Our paths crossed.

And they have continued to cross in the past months, and they have recrossed and crisscrossed and involved pancakes and coffee and rope swings and chainsaws and Everestian height-scaling* and donuts and tram rides and conversation and...

...a shared love of the outdoors, of coffee, and of raising children. No particular order. I do not know their feelings on Leonard Cohen, but I would like to remain friends with them long enough to someday find out, and should they not find him agreeable, then...*deep breath* I will hope the level of our friendship can carry us through it. You may be wondering why we are holding mugs. That is my wife (on the right). We are holding mugs that were given to us by our friends. Our friends that we like, even though we do not yet know their position on Leonard Cohen.

Inside the mugs - both mugs - are 9.5 ounces each of StumpTown coffee. I will not tell you which one. That is a secret. But it is a good blend. And they are friends that we are happy to know and be able to start sharing some holiday memories with this season.

Thanks Chad and Ronda Jean Mundy, for being you. For being fun, adventurous, kind, generous, and for passing along those traits to your three awesome boys. Cheers, friends. And thank you, many friends of theirs, for sharing them.

And remember, people, when in doubt, ask yourself this: what photo editing app would Leonard Cohen use?


*Beacon Rock